Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Set Design - Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

  • Object:

    Set Design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (designed)

  • Date:

    1957 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Delany, Edward (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache and watercolour on paper.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Roger Fox

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Design for a Frontcloth, created for Robinson Crusoe, London Palladium, 1957.

In 1947, Val Parnell took over the management of the London Palladium, one of the largest theatres in Britain. Under Parnell, the Palladium presented large-scale spectacular pantomimes until 1987 and became known as the Home of Pantomime due to its lavish productions featuring the biggest celebrity names of the time.

Robinson Crusoe was the West End’s only pantomime in 1957 and ran until 5th April 1958 starring comics Arthur Askey as Big Hearted Martha and Tommy Cooper as Abu.

The show’s scenary, designed by Edward Delany, achieved great praise, with the Daily Telegraph describing it as “lavish and glittering” and the Observer commenting that “magnificent and ever-changing splendours hold the eye.”
The production cost £40,000 to stage and is reported by the [Manchester] Guardian as having drawn “noises of pleasure” from the audience as scenes such as the Port of Panama, Davy Jones’ Locker, The Belly of a Whale and the Island of Juan Fernandez were revealed.

Physical description

Gouache and watercolour on card design for a Frontcloth, created for Robinson Crusoe, London Palladium, 1957. The Frontcloth features a foreground dominated by the swathed fabric of a pair of crimson curtains, trimmed with gold fringing and tassels. A tall wooden ship, the sails furled, and positioned in the midst of an ocean is visible in the background. The foreground of the image is filled with a checked pattern of alternating green and yellow squares, a large anchor is positioned at the front right side of the image, and a male figure, reclining back on his elbow, is visible just in front of the ship.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (designed)


1957 (designed)


Delany, Edward (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache and watercolour on paper.

Marks and inscriptions


Height: 30.2 cm, Width: 64 cm approximate

Descriptive line

Design for a Frontcloth, created for Robinson Crusoe, London Palladium, 1957


Paint; Pencil; Paper; Sellotape


Drawing; Painting


Designs; Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.